Rifles for Watie

by Harold Keith

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What was engraved on the Bible in Chapter 14 of Rifles for Watie?

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The "large Bible bound in blue leather" is proudly engraved with the name "Levi Washbourne" in silver letters.  Levi Washburn is the patriarch of the Washbourne family, Confederate sympathizers through and through.

Although he is fighting for the Union Army, Jeff has discovered that individuals on both sides of the conflict are more or less the same when one gets to know them.  For Jeff, the lines between North and South, slave and free, Union and Confederate, are not clear cut when it comes to looking at the people themselves.  Jeff has fallen for a Southern girl, Lucy Washbourne, but Lucy does not share his feelings because of the uniform he wears.  Lucy's father and brother are fighting with the rebels, and she is bitter and angry at the Northern Armies whom she feels have treated their Southern neighbors unfairly.  The sight of the Bible engraved with the Washbourned name placed proudly on display in the elegant room only emphasizes for Jeff the gulf that exists between himself and Lucy, with her proud Southern heritage.  He feels miserable; "he might just as well be in love with some girl living on a star" (Chapter 14).

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